What’s your sport?
After being an outpatient orthopaedics PT for many years, one of the most important pieces of my job is being able to connect with athletes on a whole new level. What I mean by connecting with athletes is that I had to understand their sport and the biomechanics behind what takes them from a good athlete to an exceptional one. From Gymnasts to swimmers to body builders, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of helping each of them return to their sport with confidence and insight on how to improve their form in order to improve their body’s efficiency and help prevent injury.
Something for every athlete to know that is so important and often overlooked is that the place of the injury/pain (particularly for repetitive stress injuries), is usually not the weakest link. For example, a lacrosse player that comes in with low back pain on the right side would be given a full exam. Once the pain was resolved, we would then look at their movement patterns involved in passes, running, shooting, cutting in order to determine what imbalances may be present that are leading to the back pain. I once had a patient that was a 16 yo female that presented with this exact scenario and found that she had extremely weak abdominal muscles (particularly in the right obliques) after performing a core test. Her spinal extensors were being overworked as a result. She could not even do a right sided plank without experiencing the onset of low back pain. It took isolating her right side obliques through specific exercises to get the muscles to begin firing again and to reduce the stress she was placing on her right lumbar extensors. This is just one example of many that I feel is relevant for a lot of athletes that tend to rotate to one side and lead to repetitive injuries. Even if you play a sport that is not very common, knowing the anatomy and what muscle groups are necessary to carry out the movements is something that orthopaedic PT’s should be able to pinpoint to help you function at your best.
So for those of you who are afraid that you will have to “give up” your sport because of injury/pain, consult with a PT first so we can help you get back to the game!